Chris Volstad – RHP Marlins – The 16th overall pick in the 2005 draft out of a Florida high school, Volstad has looked like a potential big league starter since the minute he walked onto the field. The big 6'7" right-hander has had success at pretty much every level since signing, and he was posting a 3.36 ERA and 56/30 K/BB in 91 innings for Double-A Carolina before his promotion. While the strikeout rate isn't impressive, it's important to keep in mind that Volstad is a heavy-groundball pitcher thanks to his plus sinker and tall frame. It's difficult to square the ball coming from such a tall release point, and Volstad's natural action on his sinker makes it even more difficult to hit hard. As a result he's getting more than twice as many outs on the ground compared to through the air, and he's yet to allow a homer this season.
Still just 21 years old, the Marlins are jumping Volstad from Double-A straight to the majors. He'll move into the rotation on Sunday, and he'll stay there as long as he remains an average or so starter. He's not as good of a bet in fantasy leagues due to his lack of strikeouts and high WHIP, and I don't think he's ready to contribute much yet. Volstad will surely start giving up some long balls in the majors, and while his sinker is a plus, his curveball and changeup aren't. Throw in a very poor infield defense behind him, and he's likely in for a rough time. He's worth a flier if you're desperate for innings, but Volstad will probably be overrated initially. He should develop into a No. 3 starter in time, so he is worth stashing away.
News: Florida starter Chris Volstad pitched in just his second game for the Marlins on the year on Friday against the Dodgers. He's now 2-0. Volstad gave up five hits and one run in 8 2/3 innings of work and needed just 100 pitches. He walked one and struck out six. His ERA is 0.84 in two games -- one start and one relief appearance.
Analysis: Don't overreact, but Volstad is definitely a viable Fantasy starter from here on out unless he collapses for the Marlins. After two very successful performances, he's earned the right to keep pitching every fifth day for the Marlins. Consider him an NL-only starter with an upside that could make him viable in across all formats by the end of the season.